Post-Zionist historians, relying almost exclusively on Israeli government archives, sought to debunk Zionist nationalist myths about the war of 1948, and were mostly occupied by the question of whether there was a master plan to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. Despite its importance, this question distracted researchers from inquiring about the responsibility of the Israeli society as a whole for the displacement of refugees, especially when it comes to appropriating Palestinian lands and property, and preventing the return of Palestinian refugees. Based on a meticulous examination of local archives of a leftist Zionist movement - Ha-Shomer Ha-Tza'ir - in Marj Ibn 'Amer, Areej Sabbagh-Khoury, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Post-Doctoral Fellow at Columbia University, tracks the process of settler colonial practices and ideologies that enabled the expulsion in 1948 and the pillaging of the property of their Palestinian neighbors. She also explores the politics of remembering by Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair kibbutzim members as they reconstructed memories of the 1948 colonization practices and their role in the Nakba.
Based on an extensive photo archive of road signs, Abdul Rahim al-Shaikh, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies at Birzeit University, Fulbright Visiting Senior Scholar at the Center for Palestine Studies, interrogates the colonial politics of toponymy within historic Palestine from as early as 1856. It shows how eurocentric, colonizing politics of toponymy were deployed by the Zionists, the Zionist movement, and the settler colonial state of Israel to rename the Palestinian landscape. Declaring Palestine a terra nullius brought the Columbus namemania into play, necessitating theorizing the collapse of two events, Euro-American colonialism and Zionism, in one, albeit ongoing, structure. The talk constructs a genealogy of the Zionist names commissions and its inherent politics; elaborates on the modes of resistance against these colonial politics; examines the map transformations on the political, cultural and artistic levels of the Palestinian imaginations; and traces the counter-cultural engineering deployed to combat a century-long project directed towards synthesizing a geographic amnesia.
Areej Sabbagh-Khoury is the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Post-Doctoral Fellow at Columbia University, Center for Palestine Studies. She is also an associate researcher at Mada al-Carmel - The Arab Center for Applied Social Research. Her current book project examines relations between members of leftist Zionists kibbutzim and Palestinian villagers in Northern Palestine within a settler colonial framework. Sabbagh-Khoury completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. She contributed to several book chapters and articles on citizenship, memory, gender and settler colonialism, among them "Palestinian Predicaments: Jewish Immigration and Refugees Repatriation." She also co-edited two volumes of The Palestinians in Israel: A Guide to History, Politics, and Society: the first volume was published in 2011 and the second on December 2015 (both volumes were published in English, Hebrew and Arabic). She has received several awards and grants for her research, among them the Fulbright Post-doctoral Scholar Award year 2015-2016 and the Inaugural Post-doctoral Fellowship in Palestine and Palestinian Studies at Brown University 2016-2017.
Abdul-Rahim Al-Shaikh is a poet and academic born in Jerusalem to a Palestinian refugee family from Ramlah. He is an associate professor of philosophy and cultural studies at Birzeit University. Al-Shaikh's work is focused on cultural representations and the politics of Palestinian identity, in addition to his works on Arab poetry, art criticism, and translation. He earned his Ph.D. in Middle East and Arab Studies at the University of Utah, after which he conducted his postdoctoral research in cultural mobility in near-eastern cultures at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Since 2004, he has been a fellow at both Muwatin-The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy and the Institute of Palestine Studies. Al-Shaikh is currently a Fulbright Visiting Senior Scholar at the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University researching "The Palestinian Living Cemetery." His last book is: The Biography of Gabi Baramki and His Odyssey at Birzeit University 1929-2012 (2015/Arabic).